Kangaroos may greet you as you turn between stone wings signalling the entrance to the long curving driveway; llamas, horses, ponies and donkeys graze contentedly … your mobile reception drops to nil … your children rush off to cuddle the nearest new furry friend … and slowly the pressures of urban life slip away.
First opened to the public in 1985, Kingbilli’s three enchanting ‘old-world’ cottages, built of bluestone, timber and slate, emphasise the value of simple pleasures. Set in naturally beautiful surroundings, overflowing with native birds and graced by regular visits from bandicoots, possums, wombats and the odd passing llama; they have become a favoured destination for many self-sufficient families seeking to exchange their often too hectic schedules with the slower, gentler pace of Australian country life.
Today, only one of Kingbilli’s three cottages is available to guests, meaning visitors are especially spoiled, being assured of exclusive use of everything the property has to offer. Tucked into the elbow of the creek, the “Studio“, as it is known, was designed with young families in mind.
Soft leather furnishings encircle a wood fire, beneath graceful curved ceilings of warmly glowing timber. The custom-made country kitchen is fully-equipped, promising to fulfil any culinary fancy, whilst two separate bedrooms of solid stone ensure a cosy nights’ sleep for everyone in the family.
There is a BBQ on the verandah, mountain bikes for the grown-ups (you will need to bring appropriately sized bikes for your children, if desired), and tennis racquets for use on our very rustic “hit and giggle” court.
Outdoors, the Studio’s landscaped gardens meld seamlessly into the surrounding bush. Just footsteps from the verandah, a private walkbridge leads across the lilypond to the Studio’s own island garden, bordered by a frog-filled fernpool and the softly flowing waters of Sterling Creek. Here, a gazebo heralds the way to your own in-ground hot tub.
The most timid of all Australian mammals, the Platypus, moves regularly between the fernpool and this stretch of the creek… and some Studio guests are rewarded with the sight of him paddling contentedly, feasting on yabbies and tadpoles.
This cute, mews-style cottage is built just for two, lit softly by delicate leadlight windows and warmed by a brass-canopied wood-fire. Coming to us from all over the world, our volunteers are carefully selected, and stay at Kingbilli for between 3 and 12 months at a time, with many returning every few years.
On the other side of the gardens is Kingbilli’s first Cottage. Built in 1980, its old-fashioned casement windows have watched the Beach family toil and triumph through all life’s ups and downs. Initially home to Ginny, Michael and baby Georgina whilst the Homestead was built, it was let to guests for many years, before being reclaimed by said “baby” of the family, 30 years on, as her first home, with her husband, Simon and their young son Daniel.
Nigh-bursting at the seams with their myriad of animals, its soaring timber ceilings and quirky country furnishings comfortably accommodate two- and four-legged residents alike, whilst the sunny loft bedroom and balcony offer panoramic views across the paddocks to the ranges beyond.
All in all… the resulting picture at Kingbilli is one of old-fashioned rural harmony, and our aim is to provide our guests with all the comforting benefits of their own little holiday farmhouse – with none of the responsibilities! Whilst here, you may be as private or as outgoing as you choose. Your only “neighbours” are our own small family, and our current volunteer couple; and we do our utmost to ensure the property’s daily activities have minimal impact on your own – but, we are always here to help if you need us.
Some may find it takes more than a few days for the slow, seamless pace of country life to impose itself upon their psyche. Others might simply let the solitude and beauty of the landscape overtake them … sitting to meditate on the rustlings of leaves in the cool evening breeze … or the filament-like reflections of trees and rushes on the still surface of a dam.
In these moments, the memory of constant motion in the outside world disappears.